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Things to do in Ottawa

The list of things to do in Ottawa is endless! Ottawa is home to several world-class museums as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and many historical buildings. The city also offers many opportunities to enjoy nature in its surrounding areas. If you are planning a holiday to Ottawa, check out our recommended things to do below.

Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill, located in the heart of Downtown Ottawa is a must see on your trip. The Parliament buildings sit atop of ‘The Hill’ and they overlook the Ottawa River. Parliament Hill is home to many celebrations throughout the year including Canada Day, the Christmas Lights across Canada Show and more. And, If you’re planning on visiting, there are free tours that are available daily but they are on a first come, first serve basis so be sure to arrive nice and early. We also recommend you try catch a performance of the Sound and Light Show which runs nightly from July to September and is free to attend.

Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must see when in Ottawa. During the winter months, it is the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world and during the summer months, it is a picturesque area, perfect for an afternoon stroll. The Rideau Canal stretches 7.8 kilometers from the Downtown area of Ottawa to the Dows Lake.

National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada is a fantastic attraction that showcases the rich, diverse history of Canada’s heritage and culture. With interesting exhibitions and works on show from various artists also, the Gallery offers a fascinating experience for all who visit.


The Royal Canadian Mint is a really unique experience where guests can explore the Mint’s Ottawa manufacturing facility where the precise art and craft of coin-making is revealed! This educational tour is a must do for those wanting to be a part of a true Canadian experience!

Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum is one of the world’s most respected museums due to its incredible exhibitions, history and insight into Canada’s military history. The museum features many exhibition galleries and collections which include rare vehicles, uniforms, medals, artillery and personal memoirs.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Built in 1841, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is the largest and oldest church in Ottawa. Guided tours of the Cathedral are seasonal and the church serves as a place for Roman Catholic’s to worship and it is also a fantastic example of Canadian religious art.

Enjoy the Outdoors

Ottawa is home to many exciting activities which you can enjoy throughout the year. Hiking is popular in the area and in the surround areas of Ottawa, you will find lots of hiking routes. With urban routes, rugged, untamed routes and also scenic pathways and trails, there is a route suited to everyone from beginner to expert hiker. If you prefer to explore by bike, you will find 800 kilometers of recreational pathways to explore. For the more daring visitors, did you know that white-water rafting and kayaking are activities you can enjoy in Ottawa! Both take place on the Ottawa’s River and are must do’s for adrenaline seekers!

Major’s Hill Park

One of Canada’s main event parks, Major’s Hill Park is a large public park located in Downtown Ottawa. The park offers amazing views of the Ottawa landscape and it’s a beautiful place to stroll. During the year, Major’s Hill Park is also home to many festivals with its most known event being the Canada Day celebrations.

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